AMSTERDAM — Amsterdam council has vowed to probe revelations that it forced Jews returning from World War II concentration camps to pay rent arrears, even if their homes had been destroyed or occupied by Nazis.
The scandal, involving an unknown number of Jews and non-Jews living in city-owned properties, was uncovered by a young art history student in Amsterdam’s archives.
Less than a quarter of Amsterdam’s Jewish population survived the war, with the Netherlands occupied by the Nazis from 1940 to 1945.
“On their return, Jews received letters from Amsterdam council demanding the settling of their back rent,” the art historian, Charlotte van den Berg, 23, told AFP.
The council even issued fines for late rent payments for homes that were confiscated and occupied by Nazi forces or members of the Dutch collaborationist NSB movement.
Van den Berg was a student at Amsterdam Free University when she made the discovery while digitising Amsterdam’s municipal archives in 2010.
She decided to dig deeper.
“I wanted to know if the city had ever corrected these measures taken in 1946,” Van den Berg told AFP.
“Unfortunately all I could find was a reduction in fines from 1947,” some of which were levied on homes destroyed by Second World War bombings, she said.
Holocaust survivor David Bonte, 91, told Amsterdam’s Het Parool newspaper that demands for back rent from Jews were widespread at the time.
His family received a bill in 1946 for unpaid back rent on their council-owned property.
Professor Jasiewicz, an expert on Polish-Jewish relations, causes outrage after saying “Jews worked to bring the Holocaust about.”
KRAKOW – Krzysztof Jasiewicz, a professor at the Polish Academy of Sciences and a well known expert on Polish-Jewish relations, has caused outrage by claiming in an interview with Polish magazine Focus last week that Jews took an active part in the murder of other Jews during WWII.
The interview appeared in a special edition of the magazine focusing on the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising this week.
In the interview, titled “Are the Jews themselves guilty?” Jasiewicz shared views that sound like they were taken from a Nazi propaganda bulletin.
“This nonsense about Jews being killed mostly by Poles was created to hide the biggest Jewish secret. The scale of the German crime was only possible because the Jews themselves participated in the murder of their own people,” Jasiewicz said.
Jasiewicz also said that the Jews brought the Holocaust on themselves.
“For many generations, the Jews, not the Catholic Church, worked to bring the Holocaust about. It looks like the Jews haven’t learned their lesson and haven’t come to any conclusions yet,” he said.
He continued, accusing the Jewish people of harming their relations with Poles.
“The Jews have a problem because they are convinced they are the chosen people.
THIRTEEN years ago, researchers at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum began the grim task of documenting all the ghettos, slave labor sites, concentration camps and killing factories that the Nazis set up throughout Europe.
What they have found so far has shocked even scholars steeped in the history of the Holocaust.
The researchers have cataloged some 42,500 Nazi ghettos and camps throughout Europe, spanning German-controlled areas from France to Russia and Germany itself, during Hitler’s reign of brutality from 1933 to 1945.
The figure is so staggering that even fellow Holocaust scholars had to make sure they had heard it correctly when the lead researchers previewed their findings at an academic forum in late January at the German Historical Institute in Washington.
“The numbers are so much higher than what we originally thought,” Hartmut Berghoff, director of the institute, said in an interview after learning of the new data.
“We knew before how horrible life in the camps and ghettos was,” he said, “but the numbers are unbelievable.”
The documented camps include not only “killing centers” but also thousands of forced labor camps, where prisoners manufactured war supplies; prisoner-of-war camps; sites euphemistically named “care” centers, where pregnant women were forced to have abortions or their babies were killed after birth; and brothels, where women were coerced into having sex with German military personnel.
Auschwitz and a handful of other concentration camps have come to symbolize the Nazi killing machine in the public consciousness. Likewise, the Nazi system for imprisoning Jewish families in hometown ghettos has become associated with a single site — the Warsaw Ghetto, famous for the 1943 uprising. But these sites, infamous though they are, represent only a minuscule fraction of the entire German network, the new research makes painfully clear.
Of course this will not stop the wingnuts from comparing the President to HITLER!!!! and calling firearm registration A HOLOCAUST!!!1111
Hollywood blog TheWrap investigates…
The Bauer Media Group may be the biggest publishing company you’ve never heard of, with 600 print publications worldwide, 300 websites and billions of dollars in annual revenue.
Though it is based in Germany, Bauer claims to have the highest retail sales of any magazine publisher in the United States, thanks to titles like In Touch and Life & Style, celebrity tabloids that are staple offerings at supermarket checkout lines.
The company’s slogan is “We think popular,” with a strong appeal to female readers through titles that focus on health, beauty and celebrity gossip.
But an investigation by TheWrap has found that there is a darker side to the privately held company, including publication of at least one magazine appealing to neo-Nazis, as well as significant involvement in the distribution of pornography — including Nazi-themed porn movies.
…Among TheWrap’s discoveries:
>> A wholly owned Bauer subsidiary publishes Der Landser, a military adventure magazine that specializes in World War II stories sympathetic to Hitler’s armies and that enjoys brisk sales among skinheads and neo-Nazis. The respected Germany newsmagazine Der Spiegel once described it as “a specialist journal for whitewashing the Wehrmacht.”
>> Until last year Bauer published the far-right magazine Zuerst!, whose publisher, Dieter Munier, has been involved in the German neo-Nazi movement for 40 years. Bauer sold the magazine in May 2012 after a public outcry.
>> Other Bauer wholly owned subsidiaries distribute pornography, including Nazi-themed porn movies. One movie, ”Inglorious Bitches,” is put out over a Bauer internet service provider and includes a scene in which a pair of soldiers clearly identified as Nazis work themselves into a sexual frenzy by torturing two resistance fighters.
When asked via email by TheWrap what percentage of Bauer’s profits stem from pornography, Bauer spokeswoman Claudia Bachhausen ignored the question. She also had no response to a question about Nazi-themed porn.
A moving reflection from the youngest survivor of Schindler’s List, Leon Leyson, who recently passed away at the age of 83. The speech took place on May of 2008 at UCSD.
Holocaust survivor Leon Leyson reflects on his incredible luck that put him on the infamous “Schindler’s List,” sparing him from a disastrous fate in Nazi Germany.
Leon Leyson dies at 83; youngest survivor on Schindler’s List
Leyson was one of the 1,100 Jews saved from the Nazis by German industrialist Oskar Schindler. He taught school in Huntington Park for 39 years and shared his survival story with others.
By Elaine Woo, Los Angeles Times
January 13, 2013, 8:29 p.m.
Among the 1,100 Jews saved from the Nazis by German industrialist Oskar Schindler was an emaciated 13-year-old boy named Leon Leyson, who had to stand on a box to reach the machinery in the Krakow factory where Schindler sheltered him and his family.
Leon Leyson (Bill Aron/LATimes)
The boy Schindler called “Little Leyson” survived the Holocaust to start life over in Los Angeles. He taught high school in Huntington Park for 39 years, rarely mentioning to anyone the pain and perils he experienced during the war that claimed the lives of 6 million Jews.
Then came the celebrated 1993 movie “Schindler’s List,” which ignited public interest in the stories of Holocaust survivors. Coaxed into breaking five decades of near-silence on the subject, Leyson — the youngest member of the group rescued by Schindler — embarked on a public speaking career that took him across the United States and Canada to share his story about coming of age during the Nazis’ brutal reign.
A little-known anti-fascist group said on Saturday it was behind a bomb attack on an office of Greece’s far-right Golden Dawn party this week that ripped through a wall and smashed windows but caused no injuries.
The dynamite-packed device was planted outside a branch of the party, whose popularity has surged during Greece’s debt crisis.
The Anti-Fascist Front said in an Internet statement that it was behind Tuesday’s pre-dawn attack near Athens. It said it was affiliated with the Informal Anarchist Federation (FAI), a group which has claimed several attacks across Europe, mostly in Italy.
“We decided to hit Golden Dawn’s offices because we believe that you have to hit out at fascists first, before they hit you,” the Front said.
The authenticity of its claim could not immediately be verified and a Greek police source said the group was not known to the security services.
Greek activists and politicians have called for the ultra-nationalist Golden Dawn to be banned. Its members have been seen giving Nazi-style salutes and its emblem resembles a swastika, but the party denies it is neo-Nazi.
Messages signed by the FAI were included in letter bombs sent last year to the Italian tax agency Equitalia, Germany’s Deutsche Bank and the Greek embassy in Paris.
Vladka Meed, who with her flawless Polish and Aryan good looks was able to smuggle pistols, gasoline for firebombs and even dynamite to the Jewish fighters inside the Warsaw Ghetto, and who after the war became an impassioned leader in the national effort to educate children about the Holocaust, died Wednesday in Phoenix. She was 90.
She died after a steady decline from Alzheimer’s disease, said her son, Dr. Steven Meed.
With her husband, Benjamin, and a handful of other survivors, Mrs. Meed took a leading role in efforts to get the world to acknowledge what the Nazis had done to the Jews of Europe. It was a difficult proposition, given the impulse of so many people after World War II to put the slaughter behind them.
The girl’s head is flung back, her mouth open in a cry of pain. She doesn’t feel anything. She is a bronze sculpture symbolizing the suffering of 10,000 or more children around the world born in the ’50s and ’60s who did suffer greatly, and still do, as adults. Because their mothers ingested the notorious drug thalidomide, they were born without legs or arms or with foreshortened limbs like The Sick Child cast in bronze. Some were born deaf and blind; some with curved spines, or with heart and brain damage.
The over-the-counter tranquilizer was hailed as a wonder drug when released in the late 1950s. Its maker, Chemie Grünenthal, a small German company relatively new to pharmacology, marketed it aggressively in 46 countries with the guarantee that it could be “given with complete safety to pregnant women and nursing mothers without any adverse effect on mother and child.” During the four years it was on the market, doctors prescribed it as a nontoxic antidote to morning sickness and sleeplessness—and it sold by the millions.
For nearly half a century, the privately owned company was silent and secretive about the epic tragedy it created while earning a vast profit. Even before its release, the wife of an employee gave birth to a baby without ears, but Chemie Grünenthal ignored the warning. Within two years, an estimated million people in West Germany were taking the drug on a daily basis.
But by early 1959, reports started to surface that the drug was toxic, with scores of adults suffering from peripheral neuritis damaging the nervous system. As profits kept rolling in, however, Chemie Grünenthal suppressed that information, bribing doctors and pressuring critics and medical journals for years. Even after an Australian doctor connected thalidomide with deformed births in 1961, it took four months for the company to withdraw the drug. By then, it is estimated to have affected 100,000 pregnant women, causing at least 90,000 miscarriages and thousands of deformities to the babies who survived.
Alfred Toepfer was one of postwar Germany’s leading businessmen and philanthropists. His fortune stemmed from his Hamburg-based grain and shipping company, which was a powerful engine of his country’s economic boom in the 1950s and ’60s. Through a series of foundations (the principal one now bears his name), he ploughed his money back into a host of prizes, scholarships and grants, many of them celebrating the idea of a united Europe. “Alfred Toepfer was one of the most successful German entrepreneurs of all time,” noted the historian Professor Hans Mommsen at the Alfred Toepfer Foundation’s 75th birthday celebration.
Toepfer showered the great and good from Europe’s political and cultural life with a huge array of medals and awards. For the UK, he instituted the Shakespeare Prize, first bestowed in 1937 on the composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, and relaunched in 1967 with an award to the theatre director Peter Hall. From then until it was discontinued in 2006, the prize was awarded to the most distinguished names in British cultural life, including Graham Greene, Harold Pinter, Graham Sutherland, Philip Larkin, Margot Fonteyn, Doris Lessing, Alec Guinness, Julian Barnes, Ian McEwan and Sam Mendes. The last two laureates were the Oxford scientist Richard Dawkins and the Welsh baritone Bryn Terfel. When it was wound up, the prize was worth ¤20,000 (£18,000).
…In the fateful years leading to the Second World War, Alfred Toepfer was a ‘sponsoring member’ of the SS who was enormously helpful to Hitler. He channelled money via his foundations to influence public opinion in Britain and elsewhere in Europe in favour of the Third Reich and played an important role in Nazi subversion in Austria, the Czech Sudetenland, Alsace-Lorraine and elsewhere. During the war, his company supplied slaked lime to the German ghetto administration in the Polish city of Lodz.
He was interned by the British for two years after the war but released. His business skills were needed by the new West Germany and he skilfully remodelled himself as an anti-Nazi interested only in building a new Europe. In reality, his closest henchmen were unrepentant Nazis who had been key figures in murdering hundreds of thousands of Jews and in starving to death countless numbers of Russian prisoners of war.
Some of the most regular recipients of his largesse have been students of Oxford, which is only now coming to terms with the fact that the source of scholarships from which it has benefited for many decades is severely tainted.